All in for my #squad… If you give a shit, this is the most important thing you will read today.
What sets the best apart from the rest isn’t cutting-edge technology, or ritzy facilities, or even great individual athletes or coaches. It’s the supportive community and culture; when the athletes and coaches are all dedicated to getting better and supporting each other in doing so.
This kind of culture makes doing the hard thing just a little easier, whether the “hard thing” is a specific task, keeping a positive attitude amongst a string of setbacks, or gritting out a tedious stretch of work.
What’s interesting is that while positivity and great leaders can boost the group up, it’s negativity that is unfortunately most powerful. In other words, most teams are pulled heavily toward the lowest common denominator.
As the Stoic philosopher Epictetus said years ago, “Remember that if you consort with someone covered in dirt you can hardly avoid getting a little grimy yourself.”. Consider a 2010 study of United States Air Force Cadets in which psychologists from the National Bureau of Economic Research tracked a cohort of cadets over 4 years.
The researchers found that while there was variability in fitness gains/losses across all the cadets, there was hardly any variability within squadrons. Squadrons are groups of about 30 cadets to which an individual is randomly assigned prior to his freshman year.
Cadets spend the vast majority of their time interacting with peers in their squadron. In a sense, the squadron becomes a second family: Cadets in the same squadron eat, sleep, study, and work out together. Even though all the squadrons trained and recovered in exactly the same manner, some squadrons showed vast increases in fitness over 4 years whereas others did not.
It turns out the determining factor as to whether the 30 cadets within a squadron improved was the motivation of the least fit person in the group.
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Photo taken at: CrossFit North Phoenix
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